Skip to main content

What GURPS Doesn't Have

I was reading this post by Refplace about common GURPS myths: it's dead (no, it gets regular monthly support and doesn't need a new edition), there are no settings (no, there's a zillion of them), and so on. And while GURPS has lots of stuff, the no-settings meme in particular did get me thinking about notable gaps which still exist in the GURPS line. I can think of three gaps that might usefully be filled.

A vehicle design system is, of course, one of those gaps. Many games need no such thing, but general-purpose rules for stuff are very much in GURPS's lane. The 4e vehicle design book is still going through its interminable process, so I suppose we'll see it when we see it. I'm curious as to whether we'll ever see a similar gun-design system, which would also be appropriate.

Then there's a setting line. Yes, yes, I know. GURPS has settings. It has many settings. I would respectfully submit that there's no setting line for 4e in the way there is for other RPGs. What I'm talking about here is an integrated line of works covering notable people and places with playable adventures, and maybe even custom rules. Dungeon Fantasy has rules and adventures, but only one real location, and that ties in weakly with the adventures. Everything outlines, as I often say, the kind of place a DF world is, but not a specific world or adventuring region. Banestorm has a couple of setting works and a martial arts supplement, but no adventures native to 4e. Transhuman Space has conversion guides but the core is 3rd edition. 4e lacks, say, the book about Immortal City-State of Gyrxx, an adventure in the sewers of Gyrxx parts one through three, a supplement with stats for various inhabitants and enemies of Gyrxx, an adventure dealing with the swamp lizard attacks on Gyrxx parts one to three, and so on. That kind of completely ready-made, out-of-the-box set of materials doesn't exist. Yes, I'm aware of the good and sufficient business reasons why these things don't exist and are unlikely to exist, so don't @ me, as the kids say. I'm just observing that it doesn't exist. (That said, I note with some interest that Douglas Cole seems to be moving in this direction with his DFRPG work, and I Have Ideas about retroactively bringing together existing DF works in to a more coherent whole which I hope shall see the light of day at some point.)

Finally, there's the big sci-fi supplement. With its history of supporting things like Transhuman Space and yet another implementation of Traveller, 4e is notably lacking in the star-faring science fiction department. Yes, there's GURPS Space and GURPS Ultra-Tech, but the subjects which have received the most elaboration by far are historical/fantasy gaming (DF, the Low Tech line, and most of the Locations to date are pointed more or less that way) and modern-ish gaming (High Tech, all of the gun-related books, and the Action and Monster Hunters lines). But where, for 4e, is GURPS Space Explorers? Where is GURPS Bug Hunt? I've been involved in actual discussions concerning the latter with both SJ Games and other authors, but nothing has yet emerged from those. Perhaps it's time to kick those off again.


Rory Fansler said…
Aww you read my blog :)
Yeah Douglas Cole at Gaming Ballistic looks like he has solid plans for a DF setting.
In fact I need to update that section of my blog.
As for other genres SJG always had Adventures on the wishlist and that may be the way to go for other settings.
You want Bughunt? Propose it as an adventure with ways to expand it and still be coherent in later adventures.
Good post overall, thats just my take on what seems the successful move.

Popular posts from this blog

The Last Pyramid

Today saw the publication of the final issue of Steve Jackson Games's Pyramid magazine, as was announced several months ago. Broadly speaking, it was the victim of generally rough times within the gaming industry.

I'm one of what is surely a small number of people who have been published in all three iterations of Pyramid. I'd had some previous contact with SJ Games--some stuff I helped with ended up in GURPS Cyberpunk, which in turn has doubtless gotten my name on the Federal Register of Dangerous Hoodlums--but it wasn't until the later days of the paper version of Pyramid that I finally got up the nerve to try my hand at writing an article. The result was a short piece on low-tech (mostly Medieval) economies, which became my first professionally published work.

This, apparently, was enough encouragement. Having seen how painless the process actually was, I started thinking in terms of writing for publication. It didn't hurt that around this time I went to work fo…


I came across another one of those historical footnotes which would in years past have prompted a Pyramid  article. With Pyramid still gone, here we go again:
Introduction The early Middle Ages were dangerous and chaotic for much of western Europe. Vikings raided along coasts and river from the north and all the way around Europe's west coast and into the Mediterranean. Magyars attacked from the east. And Muslims (mostly but certainly not all North African Berbers) took over most of Spain and raided elsewhere along the Mediterranean coast.

But while many people know at least about the existence of Muslim Spain, fewer people are aware of Muslim France.  For a time in the 8th through 10th centuries, large stretches of the south coast of France were under Muslim rule, and parts of that were administered from one of the world's most glamorous vacation spots. This was Medieval Fraxinetum.
History In 711 AD, things were going well for the expanding Muslim caliphate. An Arab-led Berb…